Intel says it will make a major push in 2008 for WiMAX in the U.S. The chip maker hopes this new wireless broadband technology will become as popular as WiFi is today.
Next year is when many of the pieces needed to kickoff adoption are expected to fall into place: WiMax-supported Intel processors, notebooks and devices from manufacturers, and broadband networks from two wireless carriers, Sriram Viswanathan, VP and general manager of Intel's WiMax Program Office, told InformationWeek.
WiMax, or World Interoperability For Microwave Access, is a wireless broadband standard that's designed to extend Wi-Fi networks across greater distances, such as a campus or sections of metropolitan areas. The 802.16 standard is theoretically capable of transmitting data up to 70Mbits per second as far as 37 miles.
Intel's carrier partners Sprint Nextel and Clearwire plan to offer the technology as a wireless broadband alternative to the 3G cellular networks offered by rivals such as AT&T and Verizon. Sprint and Clearwire are working together in rolling out a nationwide network that's expected to offer average data speeds of between 2Mbps and 4Mbps to 100 million people in the United States by the end of 2008. Much of the coverage will be in metropolitan areas.
For its part, Intel plans to ship in the second half of next year Montevina, the codename for its next-generation notebook processor technology that will support Wi-Fi and WiMax. PC manufacturers are expected to start announcing products containing the new technology four to six months before the Intel launch, Viswanathan said.